Isco scores hat-trick as Spain maul Argentina 6-1

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Madrid, March 28 (IANS) Attacking midfielder Isco scored a hat-trick while half-time substitute Iago Aspas scored a goal and gave three assists as Spain thrashed Argentina 6-1 in a football friendly here.

The game on Tuesday had been billed as a World Cup warm up game between two of the favourites for this summer’s tournament in Russia. But Spain showed they are currently on a different level from Argentina, who were without star attackers Lionel Messi,Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria, reports Xinhua news agency.

Argentina had the first chance in the game when Juventus centre-forward Gonzalo Higuain was clean through on goal, but he delayed his shot, allowing Marco Asensio to make a decisive challenge.

It was an important miss as Spain opened the scoring in the 12th minute after Andres Iniesta, making his 125th international appearance, won possession and fed Asensio, whose pass picked out Diego Costa to open the scoring.

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Jordi Alba went close to a second as Spain began to control the ball, but the home side doubled their lead in the 26th minute when Isco side-footed home after another Asensio assist following a poor goal kick from Willy Caballero.

Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi then scored a header from a corner in the 38th minute to get Argentina back into the match.

Real Madrid star Isco scored the third in the 52nd minute after good work from substitute Iago Aspas, who had taken the ball wide past Caballero and pulled it back for the midfielder.

A minute later Thiago Alcantara made it 4-1 following another pass from the lively Aspas, who had probably done enough to book his ticket for the World Cup in under 10 minutes.

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Otamendi sent another header against the woodwork as the game threatened to heat up following several niggly fouls, before Aspas scored the fifth goal after a long goal kick from David de Gea in the 73rd minute.

A minute later Aspas turned provider for the third time in the game to set up Isco for his hat-trick as Argentina fell apart.

Spain, winners of the 2010 World Cup, will take a lot from two games which have seen them draw 1-1 away against reigning World Champions Germany, and thrash the 2014 runners-up.

–IANS

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